For­mer pres­i­dent had en­dur­ing legacy in the Mid­dle East

Mideast re­shaped by Bush’s vic­tory

Las Vegas Review-Journal (Sunday) - - FRONT PAGE - By Hus­sain AL-Qatari and Jon Gam­brell

AL-JAHRA, Kuwait — On the out­skirts of Kuwait City, the love Kuwaitis have for for­mer U.S. Pres­i­dent Ge­orge H.W. Bush could be seen in 2016 on a bill­board one Be­douin fam­ily put up to an­nounce their son’s wed­ding.

That son be­ing Bush alWid­han, born in the af­ter­math of the 1991 Gulf War, which saw U.S.-led forces ex­pel the oc­cu­py­ing Iraqi troops of dic­ta­tor Sad­dam Hus­sein.

With Bush’s death, his legacy across the Mid­dle East takes root in that 100-hour ground war that routed Iraqi forces. That war gave birth to the net­work of mil­i­tary bases Amer­ica now op­er­ates across the Per­sian Gulf sup­port­ing troops in Afghanistan and forces fight­ing against the Is­lamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

How­ever, Bush ul­ti­mately would leave the Shi­ite and Kur­dish in­sur­gents he urged to rise up against Sad­dam in 1991 to face the dic­ta­tor’s wrath alone, lead­ing to thou­sands of deaths.

Iraq in­vaded Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990.

“This will not stand. This will not stand, this ag­gres­sion against Kuwait,” Bush fa­mously warned.

On Feb. 24, 1991, U.S. troops and their al­lies stormed into Kuwait. Amer­ica suf­fered only 148 com­bat deaths dur­ing the whole cam­paign, while over 20,000 Iraqi sol­diers were killed.

Bush’s de­ci­sions in the 1991 war and its af­ter­math echo even now.

De­fense agree­ments with Gulf na­tions then grew into a se­ries of ma­jor mil­i­tary in­stal­la­tions across the re­gion. And the pres­ence of Amer­i­can troops in Saudi Ara­bia, home to the Mus­lim world’s holi­est sites, served as a chief com­plaint of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden ahead of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror at­tacks.

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